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The Two Sister Lucys

Photos and Facts

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.


I was invited by the Editor of the TIA website, Atila Guimarães, to write more about the possibility of having not one, but two Sister Lucys, a question I raised in another article. Because of misinformation regarding one of the photos I used in the article, I am returning to the topic in order to defend that the hypothesis remains valid.

I had no idea that raising the possibility of having two Sister Lucys would ignite the huge controversy that is still spreading like wildfire. Independent of any other conclusion, this simple fact seems to show how many Catholics are suspicious of whatever comes from the top regarding Fatima. For them, Fatima is not a finished story, as some ecclesiastical authorities have pretended. It is still alive, very much alive. It is a curious reaction that I note in passing and leave for whoever wants to analyze it.

This controversy brought many new plates to the table: historical data that had been forgotten regarding Sister Lucy, observations about her features and psychology that enriched the picture, as well as many photos I had never seen before. I am incorporating these additions from my readers without quoting sources to assure their privacy and allow them to express themselves freely to TIA. I thank them for the collaborations.

Also, objections of all kinds were made. I cannot refrain from sharing with some amusement one genre of objection. When, in my previous article, I gave my opinion that the first set of photos showed two different persons, some protested adamantly, stating that I was wrong and the persons in the first two photos were quite obviously the same person. Some remarks were violent and offensive – “You must be on drugs if you are seeing two different persons…”

Shortly afterward, the source for one of those photos, a known magazine, issued an apology for their caption identifying the nun in it as Sister Lucy, actually she was not. My violent objectors were caught in their tracks … Their partiality was fully revealed with this mix-up. How true it is that people often don’t want to see the reality before their eyes.

But I also received serious objections, and I am answering them here as the topics come up. Again, I will not quote the sources. I also thank my objectors for their contributions.

I have separated six sets of pictures of Sister Lucy from the collection of photos I have been gathering. In the comparison sets, I tried to find similar positions and states of spirit in both the young Sister Lucy and the older one in order to validly support this assessment: they seem to be different persons.

After presenting the pictures in each set, I will zoom in on parts of the face – the eyebrows, nose, mouth, and chin – to better analyze the different features and allow the reader to follow my points, as near to a scientific analysis as I can make, without the need of too much elaboration.

As in my previous article, for the sake of convenience, I will call the person in the set of earlier photos Sister Lucy I, and the older person Sister Lucy II.

1. The slightly smiling Sister Lucys

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Set 1 shows a close-up of Sister Lucy I slightly smiling. The photo is undated but she wears the habit of a Dorothean sister and appears to be in her late 30s. At most, she is age 41, since she was born in 1907 and entered the Carmel in 1948.

The close-up of Sister Lucy II, also slightly smiling, is a photo dated May 13, 1982, so she would be age 75. There are many points of difference in the features that indicate to me we are looking at two different people.

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• The natural line of the thick, heavy eyebrows of Sister Lucy I is straight (photo 1a). The brows extend into the forehead area above her nose and past the inner corner of her eyes.

The eyebrows of Sister Lucy II, partially concealed by the dark frames of her glasses, are not straight, but slightly arched and taper off; the arch begins directly over the eye. There is a broad space without brows above the nose between the two eyebrows.

• Some readers objected that eyebrows thin with age on some people, which would explain the clear difference between the brows. I don’t believe this is necessarily so. Even if this were admitted, without surgery or some artificial means, the shape of the one’s brows does not change from a straight line to an arched one, because the shape of the brows follow the shape of the bone structure of the forehead.

• Regarding the focus of the eyes of Sister Lucy I, they seem normal with a small tendency toward extropia, or divergent strabismus, that is, the eyes slightly drift outward. However, the eyes of Sister Lucy II clearly suffer from esotropia, or convergent strabismus, that is, the eyes strongly turn in toward the nose.

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• When Sister Lucy I smiles, her upper cheeks (photo 1b) appear like two small round apples.

Although the cheeks of Sister Lucy II are partially covered by her large glasses, it seems clear she lacks these bulges.

• I could not find any photo of Sister Lucy I, smiling or serious, with her nostrils open. They do not flare naturally. All the photos of Sister II, however, show her with her nostrils flaring. They open naturally.

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• Under the apple cheeks of Sister Lucy I are definite dimple creases (photo 1c). William Thomas Walsh mentions “the little dimples that creased her cheeks when she smiled” in his description of her in his well-known book Our Lady of Fatima. (See note 1)

But, the cheeks of Sister Lucy II are flat and broad, with no creases or dimples when she smiles.

• In his description of Sister Lucy, Walsh also notes her protruding upper lip and “heavy lower one” that hangs. The two lips have different widths.

The lips of Sister Lucy II, however, are flat, thin, tight and of an equal width.

• Objectors argued that a possible denture would explain the different teeth of the two Lucys. I will treat the teeth as a special topic below in set 4. Here I will simply discuss the effect of the teeth on the lips of these two photos.

If a person has large lips to cover long teeth, as Sister Lucy I evidently had when she was young, then if someone replaced her long teeth with short ones, the lips of this person should easily cover these now much-smaller teeth. So, we should have photos of an older Sister Lucy with lips more than sufficient to cover her smaller teeth. But the opposite happens. Sister Lucy II’s lips do not normally cover her much smaller teeth.

• When Sister Lucy I smiles, the ends of her mouth point upward. But when Sister Lucy II smiles, the ends of her mouth point downward.

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• Another distinguishing feature of Lucy as a child that can be seen in her photos up to age 40 is a protuberant muscle in the middle of her chin, pronounced enough to form a dimpled area underneath (photo 1d, see also Set 6). But this muscle never appears in the photos of Sister Lucy II.

• Sister Lucy I’s chin is strong but not salient. On the contrary, the chin of Sister Lucy II is a prominent chin. The latter has a square jaw, which does not appear in the photos of Sister Lucy I.

2. The profiles of the two Lucys

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The profile picture of Sister Lucy I was taken May 22, 1946 in the Chapel of the Apparitions at Fatima.

Sister Lucia II is seated next to the tomb of Francisco at Fatima on May 13, 2000.

Their heads are in very similar positions, they are staring straight forward, and both have expressions of meditation or prayer.

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• Although the face of Sister Lucy I is shadowed, the profile of her nose is very clear. It aptly fits the description of Walsh, who noted that “the tip of her snub nose turned up.” (See footnote 1)

However, the nose of Sister Lucy II is rounded at the tip, pointing slightly downward.

The different shapes of the noses can be measured by the angle formed by the intercession of the line of the nose with the space above the upper lip. In Sister Lucy I the angle formed by these lines is an obtuse angle. On the contrary, the angle of these lines in Sister Lucy II is an acute angle.

• One can also note in this profile close-up of Sister Lucy II how arched the brows are, confirming the previous observations.

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• The chin of Sister Lucy I, even though she is younger and not overweight, recedes sharply into her neck, with the tendency to disappear into a double-chin.

However, the chin of Sister Lucy II, although she is older and heavier, juts forward and outward. It is so prominent that it forms a kind of platform extending out further than her nose. It is “lantern-shaped,” as one of my readers so aptly described it

3. The large smile of the Lucys

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Set 3 of photos, both undated, shows the two Sister Lucys with broad smiles. I have already analyzed these pictures in my previous article, so I will repeat only the essential points and make some new observations.

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• In photo 3a, one notes the heavy, straight eyebrows that project forward on the forehead of Sister Lucy I. The arching eyebrows of Sister Lucy II are lighter and the forehead is flat where it meets the eyebrows.

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• In photo 3b, when Sister Lucy I smiles the shape of her mouth forms a U with the edges pointing upward. When Sister Lucy II smiles, the edges of the lips point downward in the form of an upside-down U.

• Even when she smiles broadly, the lower lip of Sister Lucy I is thick, heavy and still a bit slack. When Sister Lucy II smiles, her lower lip is thin and tight.

• The dimple and creases of Sister Lucy I appear again in this smile. But they are completely missing on the smooth cheeks of Sister Lucy II.

• The nose of Sister Lucy II has marked nostrils that do not show on Sister Lucy I’s nose.

• The round tip of Sister Lucy II’s nose extends downward. But the angular tip of Sister Lucy I’s nose extends upward.

• The teeth of Sister Lucy I are clearly different, but since many readers pointed out the possibility that dentures would explain these differences, I will discuss this below in set 4 of photos.

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• The lower face of Sister Lucy I (photo 3c) is moon-shaped, narrowing at the bottom, with the strong chin sinking into the neck. The base of her face is oval. But, the shape of the lower face of Sister Lucy II is square, with her long chin extending outward.

4. Sister Lucy’s teeth

The objections raised by readers about the bad teeth of Sister Lucy I (photo 3, above) and the blatantly different teeth of Sister Lucy II can be summarized in two arguments as follows:

First argument: Sister Lucy I has very long and bad teeth. This would make her a candidate for dentures. Now then, dentures can change the mouth structure. Therefore, all the changes of her face can be explained by the extraction of all her teeth and the use of dentures.

Second argument: in the photos of Sister Lucy II, she would appear to be wearing a set of dentures, even though they are small teeth. Therefore, the conclusion of the first argument is confirmed.

Regarding the first argument, I agree with its first premise, that is, Sister Lucy I had bad teeth and was a candidate for dentures.

But its second premise – dentures change the structure of the face of a person – is open to dispute. I looked at many before-and-after pictures of persons who had full mouth reconstruction dentures, and did not notice any significant structural change in the smile or face. From what I have read, only cheap and badly constructed dentures show short teeth and too much gum.

However, it is difficult to imagine that the prestigious Carmel of Coimbra, to which Sister Lucy I was transferred with her bad teeth, would contract an incompetent dentist to change the teeth of a person so important to the Catholic world as Sister Lucy. It is much more probable that the dentist was good, the dentures of good quality, and that they would not have significantly changed her smile or face.

Regarding the conclusion – all the differences we see in the two collections of photos would be explained by the dentures – I clearly disagree with this. How can false teeth change the shape of the nose, the eyebrows or the bone of the chin? Only a complete plastic surgery could explain such differences.

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Regarding the second argument, that Sister Lucy II appears to be using dentures, its premise is weak. It is not indisputable that Sister Lucy II is wearing dentures. Some common sense observations pointing to the fact that her teeth could be natural follow:

• No one replaces bad and ugly teeth by another set of bad and ugly teeth. Indeed, why would a competent dentist build dentures with an ugly ¼” gum appearing on a person who is often smiling? (see photos 4c and 4d) Why did he choose to set such short, ugly teeth for such a prominent person destined to play a public role? Professionally speaking, it is highly unlikely he would have made such a set of teeth. That is, ugly teeth more likely suggest natural teeth, not dentures

• In addition, since dentures are artificial, they never change their appearance. But at times Sister Lucy II's gums seem inflamed, covering one tooth (see arrow in photo 4a), as a reader pointed out; at times her gums seem to retract making some teeth appear longer as in photo 4b.

• So, rather than dentures we could well be looking at the natural teeth of Sister Lucy II.

Therefore, neither the premise nor the conclusion of the second argument is secure. Whether Sister Lucy II is wearing dentures is open to discussion, as far as observation of photos goes.

And if these are the natural teeth of Sister Lucy II, then they are clearly different from the natural teeth of Sister Lucy I. In that case, how can it be explained except that we are looking at two different persons?

5. The two Sister Lucys in a serious attitude

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It is not difficult to find a serious expression among the photos of Sister Lucy before 1950. As a child, her expression was serious, and the air of gravitas deepened with age. In almost every picture, she is solemn and grave, with a somber, brooding expression. In photo 5 (circa 1946), in response to a request, Sister Lucy was trying to duplicate how Our Lady of Fatima looked when she appeared.

It is not so easy to find a picture of Sister Lucy II with a serious expression. Even when she is not smiling, her face lacks the swarthy tonus and brooding look of Sister Lucy I. Photo 5 of Sister Lucy II, in which she appears serious, is from the cover of the 2004 edition of Fatima in Lucia's Own Words.

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Photo 5a emphasizes the typical brooding heavy eyebrows of Sister Lucy I that almost meet in the center of her face when she shows concern. A kind of furrow appears over the brows, stressing their heaviness. None of this is seen in Sister Lucy II.

• The slight divergent strabismus can again be noted in the eyes of Sister Lucy I. On the contrary, a strong convergent strabismus is apparent in the eyes of Sister Lucy II.

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• In photo 5b, Sister Lucy I’s lips are set and closed tightly in an undulant line. Still, ample lips are apparent. The shape of the mouth of Sister Lucy II, however, points down as always, the upper lip forming an upside-down U shape. Her thin, tight lips normally do not cover her teeth.

• The two creases in the cheeks of Sister Lucy I that extend down past her mouth form two very straight lines. But the cheek creases of Sister Lucy II form arches.

• Under the lower lip of Sister Lucy I there is a concave shadowed area. In it the contours of the muscle in her mid-chin can be noticed. However, there is no concave space under the lower lip of Sister Lucy II, nor protrusions of any kind on the chin, even though one might expect this kind of defect to intensify rather than disappear with age.

• Sister Lucy II seems to have lost the strong peasant-like rude features and skin of Sister Lucy I and taken on a much clearer skin tone, indicating to me a person of a different social background.

• Admitting this change of skin tone, some readers argued that it could be explained by age, which makes the skin flaccid and clearer. Therefore, they argued, this would give the impression of a person of different nationality or social level.

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Perhaps this can happen sometimes, but regarding the case of Sister Lucy I, the radical change of skin color one can observe in the photos does not seem probable. At right is a close-up of two old Portuguese women who appear in the famous photo of the miracle of the sun. They are peasants like Lucy, and most probably from that same area, since they came to witness the miracle the children had said would take place. They seem to be a good example of what normally happens with peasant people of that area when they get old. Their faces remain rude and retain their peasant features.

Also, Lucy’s mother, at the right of the old women, who probably is in her 50s, does not show any tendency to have a different skin tone.

6. The space above the lip

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Since she was a child, Sister Lucy I had a long space between the base of her nose and the tip of her upper lip (photos 6a, 7a, 8a).

In this space we also note a defined vertical groove, the philtrum, in the center.

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However, the space between the base of the nose and top lip on Sister Lucy II appears much shorter, and there is no visible groove above the lip.

7. The gestures and spirit

The last two sets of pictures present six photos each of Sister Lucy I and Sister Lucy II in various poses. Most of the photos of Sister Lucy I are dated 1946. The photos of Sister Lucy II are from her May 2000 visit to Fatima.

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Sister Lucy I appears solemn, composed and reserved in this first set of photos (9 to 14). She always stands in a very collected way, her hands in a discrete gesture. She appears to be a person unaccustomed to being photographed, a bit awkward and uncomfortable with it. This observation is confirmed by Walsh, who also commented on her timidity.

From her postures, gestures and expression, it is easy to believe that she is the person who saw Our Lady and understood the gravity of the message and the role she should play in it. Her expression also fits with a person who saw Hell as she did on July 13, 1917.

She had maintained this same state of soul at least up until December 26, 1957 when Fr. Augustin Fuentes had an interview with her. Fr. Fuentes was the official Fatima archivist at the time and confidante of Sister Lucy. At that interview, he confirmed that she appeared quite serious and “very sad.”

He said she expressed great concern that “no one – neither the good nor the bad – was paying any attention to the Holy Virgin’s message.” She was also very worried about the revelation of the Third Secret, and stressed once again that a great chastisement would come for the world, where nations would disappear, if mankind remained oblivious to Our Lady’s message and Russia did not convert. What was coming, she warned, was a decisive battle between the Devil and the Blessed Virgin, where souls of the faithful would be abandoned by the religious authorities.

She told him, "Father, we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father, to do penance. Nor should we wait for the call to penance to come from our Bishops in our diocese, nor from the religious congregations" (emphasis added). Each person would have to save his own soul, relying on the Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She was also worried because the Holy Father and the Bishop of Fatima, the only ones permitted to know the Secret, “have chosen to not know it so that they would not be influenced by it.” [for the complete text of the interview, click here]

These most grave concerns were reflected in her expression and general demeanor.

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However, in the set of photos of Sister Lucy II (photos 9 to 14), we see a person with a different state of spirit. She is always smiling, at ease in public and relaxed in her postures and gestures.

She has lost the natural timidity typical of Sister Lucy I; she became not only fearless but also completely comfortable and integrated in ambiences external to her contemplative life. In photos 13 and 14, a friend has his arm around her, a protective gesture she accepts without reservation.

In a tête-à-tête with John Paul II (photo 11), she leans forward, her face smiling and jovial. She no longer seems anxious about the future, her mission, a coming chastisement, the corruption of consecrated souls, or the many other concerns she had before. She seems optimistic and content.

8. Acceptance of a different doctrine

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As one reader pointed out, the greatest difficulty of this whole problem is that Sister Lucy said one thing up until the 1960's and then changed her thinking years later. What could be the reason for this?

If Our Lord and Our Lady continued to appear to her, why did she say nothing about Vatican II and the so-called reforms that came from it, such as the Novus Ordo Mass, other liturgical novelties, and the loss of religious vocations? On the contrary, Sister Lucy II appears completely adapted to these novelties; for example, in the photos at right, she is receiving Communion standing on May 13, 1991 (top) and on May 13, 2000 (bottom).

If she expressed such serious concern about the importance that the Third Secret be revealed in 1960, why was she silent about it for the next 40 years? Contradicting what she had previously stated, how could she confirm the supposed secret that was unveiled by the Vatican in 2000, along with an “official interpretation” by Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone who then declared the Fatima episode closed, “a part of the past” ?

These, and many other questions, could be explained by the fact that there was a different Sister Lucy being presented to the public after 1960. I have pointed out the differences not only between the faces of Sister Lucy I and Sister Lucy II, but also in their spirits and attitudes. I present them to my readers with the honest concern to expose the truth so that Catholics may judge whether they are being fooled or not.

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Footnote 1: On July 15, 1946, William Thomas Walsh met with Sister Lucy in an interview that lasted three hours. In his book Our Lady of Fatima, he made these two descriptions of the Dorothean sister:
“[Lucia’s teeth] were large, projecting and irregular, causing the upper lip to protrude and the heavy lower one to hang, while the tip of her snub nose turned up more than ever. Sometimes her swarthy face suggested a nature that could be sullen, stubborn and defiant, if not perverse. But the appearance was deceptive, for under the stimulus of any emotion, the light brown eyes could flash or twinkle, and the little dimples that creased her cheeks when she smiled contributed to an expression quite charming." (p. 11)

"She seemed uncomfortable at first, and probably was, for she dislikes such interviews intensely, and submits to them only when ordered to do so. She wrung her hands nervously. Her pale brown eyes looked rather guarded and unfriendly. There was not much conviction in the high and timorous voice. A few moments later I had almost forgotten this first impression. She had begun to feel more at ease. She laughed readily; and when she smiled, a little dimple would appear on each cheek. The voice now sounded natural and sincere. There was intelligence in this face, too, and charm. It was impossible not to like her and to trust her." (p. 218)

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